The Final Format

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Throughout the years, our families have been given the opportunity to record special moments of our lives. But protecting those memories from loss and maintaining access to them so they might be revisited has been nothing but problematic.

Technology continues to evolve and as new technologies are introduced, older technologies are abandoned and become obsolete. In the 1930s, 8mm film was used to capture family events. This format gave way to the Super 8 films of the 1960s. In the 70s, with the development of the personal videotape camcorder, film projectors became rarer and rarer and families, wanting to preserve their memories, had little choice but to have those recorded films transferred over to the VHS format.

Enter the 1990s and the digital age. DVD technology forced families to once again “re-format” their precious memories lest they become forgotten, trapped inside unplayable plastic cases. But time refused to stand still and as it continued to march forward, new technologies continued to be invented.

Once again, we find ourselves on the cusp of a new age. Today, computers do not come equipped with a built in DVD tray. The days of renting Hollywood movies on a DVD seem to be coming to an end as streaming services become more popular. And families are faced once again with the decision of how to protect the memories they’ve made throughout their lives.

There is a solution. Digital Video Archive combines the best elements of the technologies that have come before it, along with a versatility and adaptability that will carry our memories far into the future. Think of it as a “a personal Netflix for your home movies.” It will be the last media transfer we’ll ever have to make.

Finally, our memories can be protected, played, and shared… now and forever.

Click here for more info.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotape, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

 

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Life Before Google

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I suddenly realized how dependent I have become. As I blogged earlier, we cut the cable cord recently – deciding instead to rely on streaming technology for our TV entertainment.  What I failed to consider are the ramifications of Internet service disruptions.

We lost our Internet service on Friday. And life as we knew it pretty much stopped. Our TV went dark. Our smart phones became dumb. And so did I. I couldn’t ask Alexa for a weather report. I couldn’t google a recipe to make for that night’s dinner. I couldn’t visit any of the apps that I use on a daily basis. I had no way of finding out what my Facebook friends were doing. I was alone and adrift in an online world that was suddenly out of my reach.

The lack of Google especially troubled me. I was struck with the realization that I went from being intelligent to being clueless in the blink of an eye. It turns out my IQ may be based on my ability to find information quickly via search engines. Without them, I am shocked at how little I’ve retained from all that I’ve once learned.  But perhaps that is what intelligence is: the ability to gather information and disseminate the pertinent details from the irrelevant ones. It is what I’ve always done.

Before Google, I still had my resources to get information. In my day, most people were divided into two camps. The Encyclopedia Britannica group and The World Book folks. My family fell into the latter camp. We had the full set of World Books and opted to receive the yearly recap edition – a highly anticipated occurrence in the Ondrasik household.

Thinking back on it, I was just as dependent upon The World Book back then as I am on Google today. My A+ third grade report on frogs would not have been possible without the help of the F volume of the World Book. I even traced my cover illustration from the picture within its pages.

The World Book was as much a part of my cultural upbringing as Google is for today’s generation. We just didn’t make a verb out of it. We never said something like, “I don’t know, let me World Book it.” My generation didn’t make up words… except for “groovy” for which I have no logical explanation.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Happy National VCR Day!

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You’ll be forgiven if you let yesterday go by unobserved. Most people do. It wasn’t widely publicized but June 7th was National VCR Day. It was a day to celebrate that wonderful invention, the video cassette recorder.  Don’t have one?  No surprise there. There are few who do these days.

The video cassette recorder was an electro-mechanical device that recorded analog audio and analog video from television on a removable, magnetic tape videocassette.  The images and sound could then be played back at a more convenient time. At the time, the VCR was the main way to watch movies at home, and one could create their own personal movie library.

The first video cassette recorder was introduced in 1956.  The home video cassette format (VCR) was developed in 1970. 

The birth of VCR mass market success boomed in the mid-1970s and continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Today, most VCR tapes contain the precious memories of families who used the technology to record their children and grandchildren as they grew. But those memories are now locked away as few people have the means to play them back.  At Home Video Studio, we can not only play them… we can convert them to a digital format and give the memories back to the families on a format that they can play, save, enjoy and pass on to the next generation.

Or they could choose to keep those memories on an archaic device that will not even be recognized by future generations. Take a look at this video which was shot three years ago showing children of that time trying to understand how a VCR works. What will children ten years from now make of a VCR tape?

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotape, audio recordings, photos and slides. For more information call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

My, How You’ve Changed

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There have been evolutionary developments in many different products over my lifetime but I think what feels to me to have grown the most and quickest is the telephone.

I still remember party lines (that’s when you would pick up the phone and hear someone else’s conversation taking place because they were on the line first. Listening in was discouraged but I’m pretty sure we all did it.)

I remember calling the operator to have her place the phone call. She would stay on to make sure you were connected.

I remember being excited when our parents got an extra long cord on the kitchen phone so we teens could have “privacy” during our calls. We would dial our number, walk with the receiver in our hand out of the kitchen, down the stairs into the basement, stretching that cord to its maximum length and have our conversation there.

I remember when “hanging up the phone” meant that you literally had to hang up the phone’s receiver on a hook which disconnected the call.

I remember having to wait to use the phone because my older sister was always using it first. I knew because the kitchen phone was “off the hook” and the cord taut around the corner of the wall where it disappeared behind a closed door that led downstairs.

I remember the rotary dial and how I hated to call numbers that had an 8, 9, or 0 in them because it took longer for the dial to rotate back to its starting position before you could dial the next number.

I remember when phone numbers were assigned exchange codes by using letters for the first two digits (like the old Glenn Miller song, PEnnsylvania 6-5000; the PE standing in for the digits associated with that number – 73).

Surprisingly, I can still remember the number of our family phone where I grew up. WHitehall 2-5349. Please don’t call it. It is rather funny to think some stranger is now probably using a number that has burned itself into my memories.

I remember that when you moved, you had to change phone numbers. You could not take them with you. You just had to pray that your new one would be easy to remember. It almost never was.

As telephones continued to evolve over time, so did mankind. It’s just that the phones evolved into being more efficient devices of higher quality, capability and versatility. I’m not always sure we can say the same about us.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of films, videotapes, audio cassettes, photos and slides. For more information, call (on your choice of phone) 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

What’s Coming Next?

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Many of the videotape transfers that I do are actually 2nd generation transfers. They contain footage of family memories that were previously on 8 mm, Super 8, or 16 mm film. As videotapes became more popular, families would move their memories onto them so as not to lose them.

Now, as the videotape market has given way to the digital age, more and more people are realizing that to keep those same memories safe, they have to be transferred once more… this time to a digital format.

What people may not know is that there are choices as to what kind of format to use.

In my area, people still seem to be most comfortable receiving DVDs and we produce quite a bit of them. We use archival quality disks, complete with menus, chapter markers, and titling on the face of the disk. They look and sound great as we only use professional encoding equipment. But there’s no guarantee that the DVD market will not go the same way as the videotape market did. In fact there are signs that the transition is already underway.

It is our business to provide memory loss prevention for families and we are prepared to offer our clients an alternative to the DVD. We call it DVA – Digital Video Archive. We can convert your memories (whether they are on film or videotape) to a digital format to be stored in your account on a server. This enables you to stream your memories directly into whatever device you have… wherever you are. It works across all platforms: you can watch on your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, or your smart tv. And, because it was designed to be a sharing platform, it is the best and easiest way to share those memories with anyone on the planet.

We still produce DVDs for anyone who desires them, but we also offer DVAs for people who might want to avoid the need to save their memories once more should the DVD technology ever become obsolete. Here’s a little explainer video we put together to introduce our newest service.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories though the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio tapes, photos or slides.  For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

OK, this was a little weird…

There can be a number of things that serve as “memory triggers” but today was the first time a memory (actually a series of memories) was initiated by my smart phone.

I got a beep on my phone yesterday. It was a system message from my iCloud photos account saying that I had a new memory waiting for me. When I followed the link I found that a movie had been put together (by my phone?) that apparently used face matching technology because it only took pictures of my wife (Kate) from its storage and then set it to music.

Here it is… and what follows are the memories that it spawned.

Cover photo: We were in Sedona Arizona admiring its red rocks and celebrating our 25th anniversary.

1st photo: Kate with our two granddaughters during a vacation we took to Nashville TN. This was during a children’s art and music festival we took them to one afternoon.

2nd photo: I took her to Costa Rica on our 24th anniversary and surprised her with those earrings. (I had thought it was our 25th but later did the math and discovered I was a year early. So I had to do something special the following year as well.)

3rd photo: Our first trip to Hawaii to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters. Loved it. And if it was up to me, I’d wear a Hawaiian shirt every day.

4th photo: Still in Hawaii. We were taken to visit the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor.

5th photo: In Orlando at the Dr Phillips Arts Center getting ready to see “Wicked.” It was our Christmas present to each other.

6th photo: Repeat of the cover photo. But worth repeating. It is a good one.

7th photo: In Sedona, at the bar at L’Auberge de Sedona, waiting for our table to enjoy our 25th anniversary dinner.

8th photo: At our table at L’Auberge. Fine dining. Worth the wait. And the expense.

9th photo: Last year at a convention in Tucson. Kate with fellow Home Video Studio owner, Craig Peterson. Kate and I won best western costume – mainly due to her getup. First prize was a camera crane rig.

10th photo: I’m clueless.  That’s Kate with our youngest granddaughter. If I had to guess I’d say that was on the back porch of their home in Hawaii.

11th photo/video: We end with Kate’s video message to her mother for her mom’s 90th birthday celebration.

Great memories all. And while, at first blush, I found it a little creepy that my phone took it upon itself to build a video tribute to my wife, I have to admit, it chose some pretty good pictures. But if it ever decides to start calling her on its own behind my back, I’m going to have to put my foot down.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, video, audio, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www. homevideostudio.com/mtd.